KHFC Fans Forum – Report
There were many positives achieved during the club’s event on Thursday, when 100, or so, fans took advantage of the opportunity to meet with the club’s new owner, Richard Lane, who was accompanied by the new interim Chief Executive, Neil Male, together with interim Manager, Jimmy Shan and Assistant Manager, Russ Penn.
Before proceeding with our observations, however, we do have to respond to those of you (our members) who were unable to attend and took up our offer to ask questions on your behalf and to confirm responses on this website. The event had been promoted by the club as a “Q & A Session” and anyone wishing to raise a topic or question for discussion had been invited to send them to the club by email. Many of you had responded and KHIST had forwarded a comprehensive list of questions on your behalf (as detailed in our webpost of 15th January). It’s been disappointing, therefore, that your specific questions were not included in the evening’s agenda. We are however, pleased to be able to able to confirm a general air of positivity, emanating from Richard’s own remarks and from the interesting presentations, made by the other club representatives. These did include indirect references to address some of your concerns. Unfortunately, time for questions from the floor was very restricted.
The main points recorded from the club’s promotional presentations were:
• KHIST – RL wants a positive relationship with the Trust and will
meet with our board.
It was confirmed that the money donated for the passenger lift to the Aggborough Suite was diverted to cover other expenses. The club will be interested to raise new money to complete the project and will welcome ideas.
• The KHFC Board of Directors consists of 2 persons (RL and NM) , with 2 more investors being lined up. One will be appointed non-executive Director.
• RL spoke about discussions with interested parties – the club needs the support of local businesses.
• NM has apparently been assisting RL since October, albeit that his appointment as Chief Executive has only recently been announced.
• NM advised that RL has invested nearly £1M since March 2019. RL made no comment.
RL confirmed that he will not take money out of the club.
• The club needs further investment and there are apparently a number of interested parties.
• It was categorically stated that Colin Gordon has no involvement with the football club, other than as an agent for the remainder of the season.
• Efforts will be made to chase outstanding debts.
• The club is to remain in situ at Aggborough. There’s 26 years left on the lease. The club is in contact with WFDC regarding the upkeep of the stadium, which has suffered from a lack of investment. The inference appears to be that the Council has some responsibility for this? It was not clear what “guarantees” are to be required from the Council.
• RL made a plea for tradesmen to provide necessary services (assumed to be free of charge). In particular, he mentioned that the boiler has broken down.
• There are no plans to go part-time for the foreseeable future. The logic for this appears to be that some part-time clubs have bigger budgets than KHFC and pay their players huge salaries. Some part-time players won’t reduce their demands to go full time. Mention was made of McNulty being on £85K p.a. at York.
Note: A number of attendees have since expressed their inability to understand this logic.
JS and RP have full responsibility for squad matters, (without interference) working to a budget of about £600K (average for NLN) – compares with York/Kings Lynn at about £800/900K. Many clubs are heavily financed by benefactors.
About 92%/8% of the playing budget is allocated as full-time/loanees.
• The club has been under a recent transfer embargo – now lifted. Thus the recent arrivals.
• Due diligence was carried out prior to completion of the takeover, but there have been legacy issues since revealed and considerable expenditure has been needed to settle more outstanding debts. (now 99% sorted).
RL had to get the previous Directors to resign in order that legacy issues were retained under his own control.
• KHFC is “breaking even”.
Old debts have been paid off and the club is in a “very good position”. Some issues have still to be resolved. There are a few ‘skeletons’ with a couple of key suppliers/loans, where there have been no previous disclosures/agreements.
• There will be a review of shareholdings/rights, many of which are now expired.
BMet have been given notice and efforts are being made to link up with Worcester University/ Kidderminster College.
There are currently 230 students and KHFC has one of the most successful academies at our level.
The academy is breaking even. It’s intended that it will be sustainable on student fees.
Current rules enable Premier League and Football League clubs to poach registered students without paying compensation. Efforts are being made to get the rules changed.
All profits will be reinvested.
• In response to questioning by John Davies, RL confirmed that, whilst he hopes ‘Hire It’ will continue with its longstanding (13 years?), main shirt sponsorship, there are a number of potential sponsors in waiting.
• NM will review his situation at the end of next season, depending on how his business and personal life is affected. Thus his appointment being described as “interim”. He is unpaid.
• Jimmy Shan / Russ Penn talked of their plans, tactics, fitness conditioning and all matters relating to the first team squad, The power point presentation could not be read by most in the room but their presentation was impressive. A sports psychologist has been engaged and Keith Downing has a weekly session with the defenders. It’s clear that they are passionate about the job in hand and will not be diverted from what they see as the best way forward to achieve the success they both crave.
Note: JS and RP are well qualified to take responsibility for the matters to which their presentation related. It was disappointing however that they did not address the concern that Harriers had lost the previous 3 matches and are now perilously close to the relegation zone.
JS believes that negativity amongst some of the fan base, particularly at home matches, rubs off on the players and was critical of those who ‘boo’ the players. He was also critical of negative social media posters for causing confidence problems amongst the younger players.
Whilst many of your questions remain unanswered, it’s important to recognize that we all need to look to the future, whilst ensuring that the difficult problems of the recent past are, so far as possible, consigned to history. We are all aware that communications between the club and its supporters have been somewhat strained, but we have now had Richard Lane’s assurance that he’s keen to restore a positive relationship with the Trust and that he will soon be meeting with representatives of the KHIST board. That in itself is a good start and we are looking forward to ‘moving on’ in the interests of both the club and our members.
In the meantime, the Harriers need our support if we’re going to maintain NLN football next season and that’s up to us. Let’s all get behind our team ….. we can make the difference. Hopefully, we’ll then be able to look forward to a promotion challenge in 2020/21?